Living With Integrity

Every so often, our work in the premium side of is deemed so important that our paying subscribers request we share it with the general public. Last week's 'Off The Cuff' podcast received so many of these requests that we are releasing it to all here.
In last week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris delivered a very personal message about how we each decide to live our lives.

A growing number of people are watching the “prosperity” around them – record high asset prices, record-low unemployment, new technologies, etc – and yet feeling that we’re making the wrong trade-offs as a society. All that wealth is flowing into fewer and fewer pockets, ecosystems are faltering and an alarming number of species are dying off, depression rates (especially among the youth) are skyrocketing.

In short: there’s more money flowing around than ever, and yet we and the planet are becoming sicker and unhappier.


From Chris’ point of view, it comes down integrity. The modern human way of life lacks integrity as a guiding principle. For those of us who desire a better future, brining our actions into better alignment with our integrity is the path to true prosperity.

My ultimate diagnosis of what's going on in the United States culture and a lot of Europe culture -- probably in other cultures, but I can't speak to them as well - it's that they lack integrity. Now, integrity isn't simply "Oh, I don’t lie". Integrity means that your actions are for the greater good. Sometimes there are acts of integrity which actually are not optimal for you; they're optimal for the larger society around you.

Integrity is thinking out seven generations. Integrity is saying that beauty matters in our life, and that when we take out a species, we’re taking away something extraordinarily beautiful.

Maybe we shouldn’t just spray fungicides across thousand of acres in a single go. Maybe we shouldn’t spray herbicides across million of acres in a single go. We don’t know what these herbicides are doing and fungicides and pesticides beyond the immediate use we’re putting them to. They have all these ripple effects that go on and on and on. And we don’t know what those are.

So integrity would include a sense of humility. Full integrity is saying “I don’t know”. We should be saying more of that. And integrity would include listening more carefully and deeply. Integrity would mean that we are operating in a way that is right for the other species around us, including humans. That we strive to do things that are right and good.

That part of ourselves that’s calling for our hearts to be involved in the world and to believe in something that’s larger and more profound than ourselves is really an essential concept. And everything about our current culture is cheap, demeaning, unfair. It’s not building towards the directions that I think any of us can really believe in, and we know that we have to go in a new direction.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Kudoes to Chris. To put out personal beliefs and thoughts is a walk in vulnerability and as Brene Brown would say that’s the birthplace of courage. So I and we appreciate your tackeling the challenging subject!
Unfortunately people and groups can believe they have integrity and adhere to a strict moral code and yet be totally lacking in decency, empathy, compassion and fairness. So integrity is subjective. For instance The Secretary of State over the weekend bragged that we lie, cheat and steal and was highly applauded. Below is the video. Was that an example of integrity? Does one of the most promanent figures in the world Have integrity? What is he teaching? Beyond sad.



First, people are quietly scared, at least most are quiet about it. But, you can see it everywhere, if you look, not just suicides.
Second, thanks for the discussion about demoralization. I am not prone to depression, but a few years back I began to feel that I was becoming depressed. This persisted for some time, until I heard you talk about demoralization. I immediately understood what was going on. Thanks for helping me understand that.
Sadly, I’m still demoralized.
My third comment is on integrity. The problem with integrity is that people have different opinions regarding what constitutes integrity. As a consequence of this, people judge other peoples integrity, based on their personal definition.
Not to pick on anyone, but I’ll give a “low-fruit” example of this. If I don’t believe in the Koran, a Muslim would label me as an infidel, possibly even considering me expendable. If I chose not to base my life on a different religious text, another group, might call me an atheist or agnostic. My integrity considers those labels just as inappropriate as racial slurs.
You mentioned the school kids strike against global warming. The first thing that came to my mind, is to wonder how these kids are living their lives. Do they avoid unnecessary energy expenditures in transportation, etc? Are they minimalists, or do they buy the latest gadgets like their piers? Are they vegan or do they consume animal sourced food products that are far more destructive in their use of energy, water and land?
When someone makes an issue of the environment, they open their own lifestyle to scrutiny, like Al Gore did. Their report card, might not have all As. Mine certainly doesn’t.
Enough of that. Integrity is something we each define for ourselves and we are unlikely to agree on the definition, but, we will judge others based on our values, just the same.


We have a Samson washer that was recalled. I could not think what was wrong with it when we frist got it, then i realized the tub was out of ballance with the frame. When I balance the tub, and let frame stay out plumand level the washer work just fine. Conclusion the people that desing and make this stuff just don’t care, out the door make the money that is all they care about.5 years my foot try delivery!

Great job Chris!
What people are doing has moral consequences! This is an important podcast!

Here is a spelling correction to be made to the transcript:

galvanizing all the students across Europe to go on strike because they're leaders...
That should be changed to "...go on strike because their leaders...." [Adam: Good catch -- fixed!]  

Not to belabor the point, Chris, but your points on the outlook for the mental health of our society can be directly linked to diet and the major focus of multi-national food companies. Nothing is sacred when it comes to profit. As AKGranny pointed out, spewing bullshit was at one time looked upon as taboo. Now, we don’t even apologize for it. We embrace it and smile when we’ve pulled the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting public. There is method to this madness and it is outlined in this short clip on the chemistry of our addictions. the implications are profound:


…We are going to eat through our resources until there isnt enough to sustain us, and then we’ll adapt or die off…just like every other organism. Just like every other organism. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER ORGANISM. There is no other option. Humans have never changed volunarily, it’s always been the result of necessary adaptation to a changing environment.
An individual can change to a degree but the larger collective is not an intelligent entity. Its a mob. Its like a fungus or a bacteria, it cant be reasoned out of it’s nature. Thats why I always say that there are no collective solutions, only individual ones. What can YOU do to prepare for the inevitable? Thats it. You’re not going to change the tide of human nature.

*Seriously, the podcast was more relevant to our world currently than anything I’ve read anywhere.
I have long believed that people should not only think about themselves and their loved ones as theygo about their business…and the thing about how a weathly person won’t shoot an orangatan purposely, but will invest in a palm plantation where workers are paid to do that very thing… well that is the problem of our age in a nutshell. Also, think of all the young people having babies - either they want a cute thing to love or they just weren’t disciplined enough to use a condom - well, we need to applaud the young people for not having children - or for stopping at one or two.
Again, a really great and relevant podcast. At the same time, have somebody re-do the transcript. It will be OK with a few tweaks and corrections.

“…We are going to eat through our resources until there isnt enough to sustain us, and then we’ll adapt or die off…just like every other organism.”
The way our banking, financial and monetary systems have been designed, it’s pedal to the medal !
The US Empire is in decline just because every Empire throughout history has declined and collapsed. So what to do? Well, just ask China, they are building their Silk Road to prosperity. So in essence it’s to hell with the Planet and keep making stuff just to keep BAU, functioning. This is the same country who builds Ghost Cities and Factories and tears them down just to keep their GDP looking good.
And while we’re at it let’s keep adding more babies to the population so they can become debt serfs and payoff all the accumilated debt with interest. More mouths to feed equals more resource depletion and the planet’s ecosystems which will further bear the brunt.
In one of Chris’ previous articles he stated that “humans if given the opportunity will always take the easy way out because, THAT"S what humans do”. Which leads me to believe as Gail Tverberg has also stated over and over that there are really NO solutions to our current course other than a total global collapse and waiting on the other side to try and reassemble whatever is leftover. And that’s if there’s anything leftover.

Rodster- I think you meant to type “pedal to the metal.” : ) All the research that I’ve done indicates that humans will not change unless they have to do so. Roughly, I would say that changes will not be made until at least 5 billion people and the majority of other species perish worldwide. The U.S. itself will probably not make any meaningful changes until 200 million people and the majority of other species – there is a connection here – perish due to poor choices by just about everyone.
I just finished a book entitled From Earth Spirits to Sky Gods. The thesis of the book is that man does not change until he is forced to change. It’s a book that should be widely read but is unavailable for the most part. I obtained a copy via Interlibrary Loan from a small college in Salt Lake City. The sole reviewer of the book on Amazon (published in 2000) was Richard Heinberg. I do not think that it can be overemphasized enough that those who know of our predicament are an extremely small group.
Speaking of Richard Heinberg… He credited Jay Hanson with opening his eys to peak oil. For those who haven’t heard, Jay died a few days ago. Link: He was a key factor in my awakening as well…

This was from over 10 years ago so I’m sure we’re in better shape now, right?

2008 EMP Commission Report

Summary In 2008, the bipartisan Electromagnetic Pulse Commission testified before Congress that the U.S. as a society today is not structured, nor does it have the means, to provide for the needs of nearly 300 million Americans without electricity. It found the current strategy for recovery from a failure of the electric grid leaves us ill prepared to respond effectively to a manmade or naturally occurring EMP event that would potentially result in damage to vast numbers of components nearly simultaneously over an unprecedented geographic scale. Should the electrical power system be lost for any substantial period of time the consequences are likely to be catastrophic to society, including potential casualties in excess of 60% of the population, according to the Chairman of the EMP Commission. Negative impacts on the electric infrastructure are potentially catastrophic in an EMP event unless practical steps are taken to provide protection for critical elements of the electric system. Finally, most experts predict the occurrence of severe geomagnetic storms is inevitable; it is only a matter of when.
If you're having trouble sleeping at night, and the valerian and scullcap tea just don't cut it anymore, try reading one of these. If you get sleepy easily, a suggested quick read would be chapter 7 of the second link below.  

Great work Chris,
Your quoting of Jim Kunstler’s opinion of small, local business decline matches up perfectly with the population decline in Rural America. We have witnessed the replacement of small business owners (family farmers) with conglomerates fueled by petro chemicals and massive debt. As a result, our communitues are being hollowed out as there is no one left for the volunteer fire department, local clubs, etc. This trend also entails the substitution of chemicals for labor regardless of the long term effects, both socially and ecologically. The decline of Rural America in the last 40 years has been astonishing. It is called agriculture, but there is very little culture left.

Personally, I don’t think a path forward will begin with people who need to make a living and/or bring up children. That leaves the young and the old. Imagine if 5% of the retired people in New York City decided to hang out with picket signs at the offices of Goldman Sachs and Exxon, and the streets of business districts, and not allow passage. The jails would fill the first day, they’d have to fill neighboring jails the next, and I don’t know what would happen on day three.
I’m still a few years off, but I can imagine a pleasant stay in jail trying to atone for the things I’ve allowed. I’m sure many others feel similarly.
As for how often the mob decides to act for the future, I think it’s important to remember that history is written by the winners. I’m not sure history is a reliable guide for determining how many times in the past people collectively threw themselves against evil, because we don’t hear about all the times evil “wins” by yielding and co-opting.
History, at least popularized history or history-as-taught-in-public-schools, then tells us how some remarkable politician stepped forward from the ether and implemented a change. He didn’t, his hand was forced or at least assisted by events. Without the events, the remarkable politician will look just like ours. We rage against the politicians, but it’s really the lack of forcing their hands that we should be most disgusted about, and that’s on us.


…Come on. Even you have to admit that is pretty far fetched. Climate predictions have been dead wrong for decades;

The 1975 Newsweek article entitled “The Cooling World,” which claimed Earth’s temperature had been plunging for decades due to humanity’s activities, opens as follows:
There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production — with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas — parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia — where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.
The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteor­ologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.
The article quotes dire statistics from the National Academy of Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, Columbia University, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison to indicate how dire the global cooling was, and would be.
All anyone has to do is a little bit of research from legitimate sources [ obviously the “washington post” is not going to be among them, lol ] to see how completely off the mark the IPCC has been in every single one of it’s predictions. Shit, Al gore claimed the planet only had 15 years…that was back in 1995 for God sakes.

If you had read beyond the first word of the link I cited, you would learn that the author of the article is Chris Mooney, a well respected chronicler of climate change for decades now.
Then, if you actually read the article you will find links to scientific studies and data sets for virtually all the major temperature tracking technologies, including from NASA and NOAA which measure surface, atmospheric and ocean temperatures. Curiously, they all seem to agree.

A high-profile NASA temperature data set, which has pronounced the last five years the hottest on record and the globe a full degree Celsius warmer than in the late 1800s, has found new backing from independent satellite records — suggesting the findings are on a sound footing, scientists reported Tuesday. If anything, the researchers found, the pace of climate change could be somewhat more severe than previously acknowledged, at least in the fastest warming part of the world — its highest latitudes.
You will also find references to peer reviewed studies by Joel Suskind, Gavin Schmidt, Zeke Hausfather and others, all well respected climate scientists. The conclusions:
The new research “confirms (yet again) from an independent source that the surface temperature records over the past couple of decades are robust,” added Ed Hawkins, a climate researcher at the University of Reading in Britain, by email. The methodologies used to calculate Earth’s temperature are being improved all the time — and the data sets are constantly updated with the most recent information. Lively debates will persist about how to deal with some of the problems involved in this process, such as that cities tend to be warmer than the countryside, and that records are far more numerous and reliable today than they were at the close of the 19th century or a little bit before it, when the data sets begin. But the new study suggests none of this weakens the major conclusion: Warming is ongoing; and Earth keeps pushing record temperature highs, at least in the context of the past 140 years or so. “For all the issues that there are, the patterns are not just qualitatively right, they’re pretty much quantitatively right, too,” Schmidt said.
Funny, they have massive data that support their findings. You have a nearly 45 year old article from Newsweek (is that a respected scientific journal) that, in retrospect, was clearly wrong. Now, again, who are your sources?  

I think you’d find things easier sledding here if you stopped citing WAPO as your source, and instead use news sources that have managed to get hard stories correct these past few years. There are other left-leaning sources out there that aren’t so utterly captured by corporations and DNC groupthink.
Consider: if your news source got “collusion” dreadfully wrong, many people (especially here) will remember this, and you will have more trouble convincing them of your possibly-otherwise-reasonable viewpoint. These people are using an internal “newsguard” that applies a big red cherry to all WAPO stories, deservedly or not, because of WAPO’s recent egregious failures.
Just from the standpoint of tactics, you would probably be better served to use sources which aren’t so tainted.
Just some friendly advice. :slight_smile:


Brushhog wrote ‘The IPCC [ considered the gold standard of climate science by the UN ] …
Brushhog I do agree with much you write but the IPCC is the gold standard for nothing. They are bureaucrats with a mentality of complacency who pick and chose what they include in reports based on palatability. I prefer experts and one of my heroes is Pater Wadhams - Emeritus professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge University. He’s a practical scientist with vast experience and real integrity.
One example of the IPCC geting it completely and dangerously wrong - The recent IPCC 1.5Deg report says ’ If we keep global warming to 1.5 degrees C there will be an arctic ice free summer once in 100 years’. To Wadhams this is ‘daft’ Once we start getting ice free summers they’ll be here to stay. The problem is IPCC are using old models and ignoring feed back loops associated with ice retreat. I’m not sophisticated enough to bring up the video but here is the link to Peter Wadhams explaining this and 2 other feedback loops that are excluded from the IPCC report (15 min)

And if anyone finds that useful heres a more general discussion entitled 'Peter Wadhams - IPCC Underestimates and Political Cowards' (20 min)
Consider: if your news source got "collusion" dreadfully wrong, many people (especially here) will remember this, and you will have more trouble convincing them of your possibly-otherwise-reasonable viewpoint. These people are using an internal "newsguard" that applies a big red cherry to all WAPO stories, deservedly or not, because of WAPO's recent egregious failures.
Sigh ... that's a form of groupthink too, y'know.

So let me get this straight. If someone lies to you repeatedly, you feel it is “groupthink” to stop trusting what they say? I mean sure, people start to think you’re a crank for not believing the official story, but…if you have a functioning memory, its hard to keep that trust going after they feed you enough lies.
I think a lot of us here are at this point.
For this audience, it is probably better tactics to cite sources that got the hard stories correct, rather than to cite the places and people who got those same stories wrong.